Thrift-Store Shopping Tips
- Bought a bread machine or another small appliance? Look online for the owner’s manual.
- Décor items are cheap, easy to find, and occasionally completely fabulous at a thrift shop.
- Wooden furniture (real wood) can be bought cheaply at the thrift store and painted or refinished, then sold to put some cash into your pocket.
- Costume jewelry. It’s a thing.
- I rarely buy art at the thrift store, but I’ve been known to buy the painting or poster for the frame that surrounds it.
- Take your vitamins—being sick is no fun and going to the doctor is expensive.
- Your body needs both aerobic exercise, like walking or running or riding a bike, as well as anaerobic exercise like weightlifting. You do not, however, have to pay to use a gym to do either or both.
- Look for lightly-used exercise equipment on Craigslist and save big bucks over buying new.
- Allergic? Buy and use handkerchiefs rather than shelling out money for tissues all the time.
- A Health Savings Account is an excellent idea—pre-tax dollars to make your high-deductible health care plan more bearable.
- Cook enough dinner tonight to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
- Meatless meal night once a week saves you cash.
- Discover day-old bread and never buy croutons, breadcrumbs, or stuffing mix again.
- Make as much food as you can from scratch; your grocery receipt will thank you.
- Check out online sites for recipes for frugal meals.
Driving and Car Care Tips
- Use Gas Buddy or a similar app to find the best gas prices near you.
- Consult your owner’s manual for information on how often you need to service your car, then follow the service schedule faithfully.
- If you can stagger your commute to avoid rush hour, you’ll save money on gas as well as saving time.
- Keep your tires properly inflated for the best gas mileage.
- Save money on road trips by packing a picnic. This old-school tip saves you money and gives you a nice break from the drive.
Gift and Giving Ideas
- Often an experience is a better gift than an item. My dad raves about the time all his kids wrote letters at Christmas with the theme, “The Best Advice Dad Ever Gave Me” in a way he never raves about all the neckties we’ve given him over the years.
- Buy gift wrap and greeting cards at the dollar store. You can make a gift look amazing without breaking the bank.
- Give your beloved a bouquet and she will have roses for a day; give her a rosebush and she will have roses for the whole season.
- Regifting only works if you keep scrupulous records.
- Teach children to budget for gifts, not just for their own interests. Bonus points for raising awesome human beings!